Beginner gaming PC: How to get started with PC gaming


The new PS5 and Xbox Series X could be all the fad proper now, however for a lot of, one of the best ways to play video games continues to be in entrance of a mouse and keyboard. PC gaming is extra standard than ever, thanks to a ton of nice choices for getting or constructing a strong pc that may play sizzling titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Star Wars Squadrons at their most optimum settings.

Better but, PC gaming is now not a distinct segment pastime reserved for hardcore fans with tons of cash to spend. While you’ll have to make investments a bit extra up entrance than you’ll for a console, there are many reliable starter programs on the market that will provide you with nice efficiency for the most important blockbuster video games for years to come. Better but, the advantages of investing in an excellent PC go effectively past video games, and the upgradability of gaming PCs provides them a far longer shelf life than any console.

Curious about giving PC gaming a shot? Here’s all the pieces you want to know, together with the important thing specs and options to look out for and our suggestions for the very best newbie gaming PCs for getting started.


Don’t get us fallacious: We love consoles, from their plug-and-play ease of use to their compelling unique video games. But PC gaming presents a degree of flexibility, most efficiency and sport selection that’s exhausting to high, and an amazing gaming desktop can function a superb complement — or different — to a PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch.

The greatest sport library on the market

For starters, proudly owning an excellent Windows gaming PC opens you up to hundreds upon hundreds of video games that span literal many years, culminating in a sport choice that dwarfs even probably the most sturdy console libraries on the market. You can journey again in time and play the unique Doom, Quake and Half-Life, get pleasure from modern classics like BioShock and The Sims and crank up fashionable favorites like Control and The Witcher 3 to their most graphical potential.

And since Microsoft publishes all of its main video games (and presents Xbox Game Pass) on PC, an excellent gaming rig obviates the necessity to seek out an Xbox Series X for enjoying the most recent Gears, Halo and Forza video games. Playing on PC additionally means you’re not restricted to one particular storefront, with platforms akin to Steam, Origin and the Epic Games Store providing a number of methods to purchase — and save.

“There’s a false impression that PC gaming is dear in contrast to console gaming, however that’s simply not true,” says Linus Sebastian, founding father of standard YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips. “Thanks to the variety of competing sport marketplaces on PC, the very same sport is usually cheaper on PC, main to appreciable financial savings over the life span of the machine when you purchase a number of video games.”

The PC platform isn’t with out its personal compelling exclusives, both, from standard on-line shooters like Valorant to the wildly standard massively multiplayer motion of World of Warcraft.

“PCs are the platform on which video games are mainly made,” says Lewis Ward, head of gaming and AR/VR at analysis agency IDC, noting that standard titles akin to Minecraft and Among Us made their debut on PC. “Breakout indie video games nearly at all times seem on PCs first… The catalog is simply a lot deeper than console sport catalogs.”

Top-tier efficiency

If you care about efficiency, then PC gaming is certainly for you. Even a decently inexpensive rig can get you 1080p gaming at excessive body charges (basically how easily a sport runs). Those keen to go all out can get pleasure from immersive 4K gaming at 60 frames per second and past — a degree of efficiency that consoles are solely simply beginning to scratch at.

“Since the excessive finish of PC tech constantly runs forward of consoles, in case your bag is 120+ frames per second gaming or when you like a multi-monitor or ultrawide gaming expertise, that’s mainly restricted to the PC type issue,” says Ward.

And whether or not you purchase a prebuilt system or construct your personal, most gaming PCs are upgradable, which means you possibly can swap in higher parts over time. That’s one thing you merely can’t do on consoles.

“A gaming PC may cost a little extra up entrance, however some elements — like a case or energy provide — can be utilized for so long as two full console cycles earlier than needing to get replaced,” says Sebastian.

You can play the best way you need

Gaming PCs additionally provide you with freedom to use your controller of selection — whether or not that’s an Xbox Wireless Controller, a Sony DualShock 4 or a trusty mouse and keyboard. It’s additionally the very best platform for digital actuality fans, with assist for a variety of headsets, together with the accessible Oculus Rift S and high-end HTC Vive Cosmos.

“On PC, you want a monitor, tower, keyboard and mouse and also you’re all set, however you may also proceed to construct up your system to ship experiences that simply aren’t accessible on console,” says Sebastian.

Triple displays to present you what’s in your peripheral imaginative and prescient in driving and flight sim video games? Yep. Motion monitoring equipment that make you are feeling such as you’re really within the sport? Oh yeah. Scented oils that blow totally different smells at you relying on the gaming expertise? Well, that’s not fairly right here but, however there are prototypes!

Gaming PCs can do rather more than gaming

And not like consoles, an amazing PC can accomplish that rather more than play video games or stream films and TV exhibits. A superb gaming desktop doubles as a strong pc for internet browsing, workplace work, video modifying, music manufacturing and just about some other activity you’d want a PC for.

“Pretty a lot any gaming rig over $500 lately is able to not less than 1080p video streaming and modifying, permitting you to share your gaming experiences dwell or ingest the footage and edit them collectively for an viewers on YouTube,” provides Sebastian.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

If you’re new to PC gaming, the sheer quantity of programs on the market could also be daunting, and the litany of technical specs for every system could learn like a second language to you. Here are a few of the key specs to listen to when searching for a gaming pc in addition to our suggestions for the kinds of elements to choose to your system.

CPU: The CPU (central processing unit) is actually the mind of your PC, finishing up all the important duties that permit it to operate correctly. A brand new gaming PC will both come with an Intel Core CPU or an AMD Ryzen processor — each are able to delivering top-tier gaming efficiency, with AMD typically providing barely higher worth.

GPU: One of probably the most essential elements of any gaming PC, your GPU (graphics processing unit) will decide the extent of visible constancy and efficiency your pc can crank out whereas taking part in video games. The two main gamers listed here are Nvidia and AMD — in accordance to the specialists at Tom’s Hardware, the previous wins on total efficiency, whereas the latter presents extra inexpensive costs.

RAM: Random entry reminiscence, or RAM, is what permits your pc to rapidly learn and write information. The extra RAM you will have, the higher total efficiency you’ll get pleasure from, particularly when it comes to multitasking.

Storage: Your PC will come with both a tough disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). Since they’re an older expertise, exhausting drives are typically cheaper and might be present in larger capacities. But we advocate getting a system with an SSD, as your boot instances and sport loading speeds will likely be considerably quicker.

As far as an excellent baseline of specs to search for, Sebastian recommends beginning with a contemporary quad-core CPU (akin to an AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3), not less than 16GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon 5700 or Nvidia GeForce 1660 Super to your graphics card.

“As lengthy as you will have sufficient system reminiscence and cupboard space to meet the minimal necessities of the sport, efficiency principally comes down to the CPU and graphics card,” says Sebastian. “Find opinions of the parts you’re to see how effectively they’ll deal with the video games you need to play. If all you want is 60 [frames per second] in Counter Strike, I’m keen to wager you possibly can get started for lots lower than you’d suppose.”

There are loads of nice newbie gaming PCs for individuals who need to benefit from the perks of PC gaming with out paying an exorbitant value — and with out the trouble of getting to construct one your self.

One standard choose is the Dell G5 Gaming Desktop, which packs strong specs right into a compact design you can improve over time. The beginning configuration goes for as little as $685, which will get you a Tenth-gen Intel Core i3 processor, an AMD Radeon RX 5300 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB exhausting drive. That’s sufficient energy for enjoying video games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Gears 5 at {smooth} body charges at 1080p, although we advocate springing for not less than 16GB of RAM ($98 additional) and a 512GB SSD ($78 additional) when you can. That’ll provide you with higher respiratory room for multitasking and significantly better load instances.

Another strong possibility is the HP Omen 25L, which begins at $799 and will get you an AMD Ryzen 5 3500 processor, an AMD Radeon RX 5500 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

If your finances is larger, the Alienware Aurora is basically thought-about the very best gaming desktop on the market. It begins at an attainable $1,009 with modest specs for strong 1080p gaming, however those that need extra future-proofed specs can try the $2,339 mannequin with an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That’s sufficient for constant excessive body charge gaming at up to 1440p decision.

There are additionally a wide range of boutique gaming PC producers who will custom-build a unit for you based mostly in your most well-liked specs and design. Based on Linus Tech Tips’ current Secret Shopper function, Sebastian recommends iBuyPower for total worth and Maingear for its high-quality buyer assist. Another standard possibility is NZXT’s BLD service, which helps you to select the video games you care most about taking part in so as to assist you determine what sort of specs you want.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

Picking the precise system is only one a part of placing collectively an amazing PC gaming setup — discovering the precise equipment is almost as essential.

While many starter PCs come with a standard-issue mouse and keyboard out of the field, it’s value contemplating a devoted gaming mouse and gaming keyboard for the very best efficiency and longevity. A mouse-and-keyboard combo such because the $79 Logitech G502 (at present $39, initially $79) and Corsair K70 MK.2 ($89) will provide you with loads of management, consolation and customization whereas gaming, whereas headsets just like the MetalSeries Arctis 1 ($49) will maintain you immersed in your sport and permit you to chat with mates.

Perhaps an important accent you’ll purchase to your PC setup is your monitor. You’ll need to be sure you get one thing that matches what your system is able to — a 1080p show just like the ViewSonic VX2452MH ($119, initially $139) will do exactly high-quality for an entry-level system, whereas these with higher-end graphics playing cards ought to try displays just like the BenQ EL2870U ($299, initially $499) for enjoying in 4K. You’ll additionally need to think about options like G-Sync (for Nvidia graphics playing cards) and FreeSync (for AMD GPUs). These permit your monitor to sync up its refresh charge to that of your graphics card, guaranteeing extra-smooth efficiency and stopping nasty visible issues like display tearing.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

While there are many nice prebuilt programs on the market, many PC fans choose constructing their very own. You can avoid wasting cash when you choose to construct your personal system, and there’s a particular degree of satisfaction that comes with placing collectively a pc your self. However, you also needs to think about whether or not you’re keen to put within the time essential to construct a PC, or when you’d choose having one thing you possibly can plug in and begin taking part in with out of the field.

“Lots of people will inform you that it’s cheaper to construct your personal, however this can be a little bit of a delusion,” says Sebastian. “Yes, it may be marginally cheaper, however except you connect actually zero worth to your personal time, it’s seemingly that you can have merely had somebody assemble it for you for lower than it’ll value you to pay your self to do it.

“So the actual motive to construct your personal PC is since you suppose it could be enjoyable. Everything from researching the elements to the precise meeting is a studying expertise that many individuals discover very pleasurable — all of the extra so once they’re taking part in video games on one thing they constructed with their very own two fingers.”

If you do resolve to go the DIY route, make certain to try our information on how to construct a gaming PC.

Regardless of whether or not you resolve to construct your personal rig or go with the numerous glorious preconfigured choices on the market, getting an excellent PC will open you up to a near-endless library of titles and allow gaming experiences you merely can’t have anyplace else. Good luck in your journey, and have enjoyable!

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